Monthly Archives: August 2016

Fayette County Sunday

Not my mountain view, but if I close my eyes...

Not my mountain view, but if I close my eyes…

Is it just me or is the sight of a shadow of a cloud passing over the mountains one of the coolest things to see?

It’s perfect on a relaxing Sunday afternoon when you’re outside just watching the world go by.  Or at least this little part of it here in Fayette County.  The county fair has wrapped up so people aren’t out and about as much as they were through the week and are probably napping off ten- thousand or so calories of fried foods that they took in over the past few days.

Though plenty of people were out shopping today when I needed to be out there.  But that’s always the case when I’m trying to get anything done.  You think you’ve seen a Wal-Mart checkout line go slow?  You haven’t seen nothing ’till I’ve picked a line.  Out-of-date coupons, writing a check to pay for half of the order without a pen, searching for change from the bottom of a ten-gallon purse…?  Whoever is in front of me is guaranteed to do that and more.

People are still wearing their county fair kind of outfits out there too – plenty of camouflage (in hat, shirt, shorts and shoes options), muscle shirts with some version of the American flag, and one guy who’s torn and stained t-shirt read “Out Drinking Moonshine”.  Ahh, Fayette County, I don’t get you at all, but I love you anyway…  After all, where else can you watch an 85-year old man cruise up and down the streets of the neighborhood on his motorized wheelchair with his grandson on his lap acting like they’re in a go-cart and moving faster than half the cars that are going by?  And where else can you see people in short-shorts, knee-length black dress socks and a pair of brightly colored Crocs out for lunch at a downtown restaurant acting like they dressed up for the occasion?  No, I’m not judging, I’m just enjoying all of the local color.  It makes life more interesting.

I’m not sure how Graham (the cat who thinks like a dog) is adjusting to this area of the country so far either.  He’s a cold-weather boy by birth and hasn’t made many friends since leaving “his people” back in Minnesota.  He gets along well with a 20-25 pound groundhog who lives just at the edge of our yard – they seem to have built some mutual respect there somehow – but any other animal he sees he just takes as a threat.  The other day we were outside when one of the neighbors came walking by with her large golden retriever and stopped to talk.  And, seeing Romeo step just one paw into our yard, Graham came running over, punched him in the nose and stood in front of him growling.  This is MY turf.  

I’ve seen feral cats running for the woods like their tail was on fire, with an orange and white blur chasing them until they passed out of the range of our yard and Graham trotting back to the front walk with a smug look of success on his face.  And, just the other day a huge Rottweiler came into the yard barking his head off and Graham just walked up to him with an incredulous look on his face like You really want a piece of me?  

I think that 90-100 pound dog was just a bit out of Graham’s weight class so I had to pick him up and carry him in.  And I think he’s still a bit bitter at me doubting his skills…

what are YOU lookin' at?

what are YOU lookin’ at?

So we each have our own way of adapting to a new area I guess.  I write and he plays neighborhood watch (or neighborhood bully – I’m not sure which one).  I haven’t been here long enough for Fayette County to make it into the writing, but it’s got enough unique characters around to inspire some stories.  And, as if to prove my point on what I thought was going to be a quiet afternoon, remember that grandpa from down the street?  He just got into a race with a couple of kids in a golf cart and I’m putting my money down on the old man if there are any takers out there…

Represent Me, Publish Me, Love Me…

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I’ve never been all that great with setting deadlines for myself.  I’m too stubborn and I know myself too well.  So I don’t want to set myself up for disappointing myself.  Make sense?

But…throughout the rest of this week, I have a job to do.  It’s time to write out the query letter that I’m going to send out to potential agents.  You know, the letter that tells prospective agents ‘please read me, please love me and validate me, please tell me that I’m a good writer and please drop everything else on your plate to get me published’.  Ahh, selling myself and my work through barely disguised begging, and having it done by the end of the day on Saturday.  Now this project should be fun…

I wonder how many rough drafts it will take to attempt to describe my novel in a way that I’m ultimately happy with.  To take an 80,000 word book (that I’ve been re-working for months and months) and make it sound like the next best seller in a 200-300 word description, well…lets just say that I’m not expecting it to be easy.  I’d like it to stand out and seem amazing but, by the end of the week when it’s time to send it out, I might settle just for the final result not to be passed out among the agents’ office peers as a “look at what this schmuck sent to me” example.  After all, I want to entertain people, but not exactly in that way…

I guess I could ask those people who have read the novel for their opinions, but, well…since I moved here to Fayette County, I’m kind of missing that aspect of the writing process.  I’m missing those people who read through a few chapters at a time, give me their opinion and ask “But then what happens?”  So I’m settling for writing my own description about my own book which, if it sounds like that really shouldn’t be that difficult, it at least explains why I was fired from the only sales job that I ever had.  Okay, sure, it was selling magazine subscriptions over the phone while I was back in school, but who really wants to wake people up on a Saturday morning to try to sell them a 2-year subscription to Newsweek or Photography Today?  My one and only job review came with this criticism – “You always sound surprised when people buy something from you”.  And my response?  “Surprised?  I’m in flipping shock!”.

But I digress…

I believe in my novel way more than I believed in 12 issues of Better Homes and Gardens.  I’d just love it if the process of submitting it didn’t involve jumping through hoops and praising my work and could just have them read it and decide for themselves.  But…I guess the work will all be worth it first when I see it in print on the bookshelf and then…when I see the movie version up on the big screen…?  See agents and editors?  I do believe in it!

I think I just need to hire an assistant to do the dirty work of writing up those letters for me and kindly shredding all of the rejection letters when they come back.  Someone who will tell me the ones who rejected it are idiots anyway.  And will then ask me “But then what happens…?”